6 New England Public Libraries Connecting Communities

Libraries are invaluable institutions that many people rely on for access to information, entertainment, and the internet. These establishments are often more than just spaces to read; they can also function as daycare centers, theaters, meeting places, and galleries. Listed in no particular order, the following are some valued libraries that work to support, nurture, and educate the New England areas they serve.

Beginning the list at #1, the Fletcher Free Library has been a partner in the Burlington, Vermont community since 1873, when Mrs. Mary L. Fletcher and her daughter donated a sum of money for its endowment. The collection houses over 155,000 items, including books, magazines, databases, tools, videos, audio-books, and more. Wireless internet is available for laptop users and at public access computers throughout the space.

The Library's mission is to inform, enrich, and nurture a community of lifelong learners. This institution also strives to be an essential partner in Burlington's economic, social, and cultural growth, encouraging people of all different cultures and backgrounds to come and congregate. It also hosts a diverse range of programming including free concerts, movie screenings, language classes, and conversation groups.

The Bixby Memorial Free Library, which is #2 on our list, serves the Vermont communities of Addison, Ferrisburgh, Panton, Vergennes, and Waltham. Its vision is to create a valued and thriving cultural space that sparks delight and fosters engagement, discovery, and learning. Built in 1911 and constructed of yellow tapestry brick, with Indiana limestone columns, the structure was designed in a classic Greek Revival style. The Library is listed on the National and State of Vermont Historic Registers.

From its earliest days in the back wing of the Chittenden Bank building, the Bixby, formerly known as the City Library, has steadily expanded its collection and services, and now holds more than 25,000 volumes. The general collection includes children's, youth, and adult fiction and nonfiction, with many titles from the New York Times best-seller lists. A selection of local and national newspapers and magazines are available for browsing, including the Burlington Free Press, Addison Independent, Seven Days, and People magazine.

Up next, at #3, the Woburn Public Library was founded in 1856, and moved to its location on Pleasant Street in Woburn, Massachusetts in 1879. The original building was designed by acclaimed architect H. H. Richardson, and is considered a National Historic Landmark. The organization works to advance the needs of the community in the areas of literacy, workforce development, civic engagement, and culture.

The onsite children's room offers a range of free activities that support the Library's mission to connect residents to resources, services, and experiences that educate, enrich, and entertain. Besides facilitating a wide range of cultural programming, this institution also offers an array of free online classes, tutorials, and workshops.

Moving on to #4, the mission of the Milton Public Library is to promote the love of reading, to make culture and learning accessible, and to be a useful resource for research and the acquisition of information. The organization strives to do all of this in a way that nurtures and supports the growth of its Massachusetts community.

To help aid the work, education, and personal growth of locals, every year, a writer-in-residence is invited to curate original programming, and share a piece of work. The Library also holds a large art collection that is displayed both onsite and online.

Located in Connecticut, the Cheshire Public Library is #5 on the list. Community support for this organization dates back to 1888, with its official establishment occurring four years later. Since then, it has undergone many changes, but remains an inclusive environment for reading, learning, and relaxing.

Over the years, the Library has been awarded for its community programs and services. Among its offerings are nutrition classes, video game competitions, toddler story times, and more. All of the activities are meant to promote creativity, connection, independent thinking, and learning, and to uphold the institution's mission to transform the lives of the people in the region.

Lastly, at #6, Providence Community Library is composed of several neighborhood libraries that are linked into a comprehensive system, with three of them serving entire regions of Rhode Island's capital city. Each of the branches strives to create a welcoming and safe physical and intellectual space to be used by a diverse group of people.

Meant to function as a community hub, each location offers free educational and cultural resources, as well as programming that promotes literacy, lifelong learning, exploration, discovery, and enjoyment. Upon its founding in 2009, PCL became the largest library system in the state.